Mukesh Kumar, an average pacemaker, set Saurashtra on edge with quality swing bowling before Sarfaraz Khan continued his dream run with an attractive hundreds to put the rest of India at the wheel on the first day of Saturday’s Irani Trophy match. At punches, Sarfaraz’s unbeaten 125 off 126 balls took Rest of India to 205 for 3 after Mukesh’s swing and scorching pace of young guns Kuldeep Sen (3/41) and Umran Malik (3/25) won the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy Champions for a skinny 98 in 24.5 overs.
In the presence of President of Selectors Chetan Sharma and his colleague Sunil Joshi, Sarfaraz gave an exhibition of his wide range of blows, including 19 limits and three sixes.
With the Rest reeling at 18 to 3, Sarfaraz played one of his most countering punches in the post-lunch session to take the fill out of the Saurashtra attack, adding 185 for the unbroken fourth wicket score with Hanuma Vihari ( 62 of 145 balls).
The hallmark of Sarfaraz’s innings was how he chose the length very early and that allowed him to play late. He played some attractive shots square off the wicket, but the way he played with house dog Jaydev Unadkat was worth watching.
Unadkat threw two bouncers at varied paces. In the first, he kept his form to get under the throw and pulled up for a six.
The next bouncer from the same spot, he rolled his arms over to hold the pull shot down for a boundary.
It was a late cut left arm spinner Dharmendra Jadeja who brought his century. Later, in one over of Jadeja, he repeatedly dragged him for three borders when Unadkat was forced to open his field to stop borders.
In the morning, however, the field was tougher than expected.
On a course that offered a good bounce and fought some early, which helped with a bit of air squeeze, Mukesh (4/23 in 10 overs) literally decimated Saurashtra with his first spell as he let the batters play every pitch.
Most of his throws swung in, leaving the batter either late after pitching or straightening up with the keeper and slip cordon throwing almost anything in his way.
The best thing about any dismissal was that it was more about the bowler hitting full length while delivering very close to the punches.
Neither of the two openers Harvik Desai and Snell Patel played away from their bodies, but the Bangladeshi sailor, who had a dream A-series against New Zealand, made sure they pushed supplies onto the stump.
However, Cheteshwar Pujara (1)’s prized scalp belonged to Kuldeep, who bowled fast and straight to send a thick outer rim flying to the briefs.
But the man who terrorized batters who regularly bowled over 145 clicks was Umran.
The way batter after batter shuffled to the leg stump to avoid being injured was exciting.
Short scores: Saurashtra 98 in 25.4 overs (Mukesh Kumar 4/23, Kuldeep Sen 3/41, Umran Malik 3/25) Rest of India 205/3 (Sarfaraz Khan 125 strike, Hanuma Vihari 62 strike).
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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